Skip to main content

tv   Book Discussion on Gun Control in the Third Reich  CSPAN  August 17, 2014 5:00pm-6:31pm EDT

5:00 pm
>> and he looked at it, and he sai, well, it's a good idea but very french, you know? i can do better than this. and he's the one that figured out the interrupter gear. so as the propeller blade approaches where the axis of the gun is, it would interrupt the firing pin, and it wouldn't -- and he did it in one night. he came up with a very simple cam arrangement inside that just, you know, basically kept the pin from making contact as the propeller rotated like a clock. pretty simple, okay? anyway, it never really happened. and the french used copper-jacketed bullets which would deflect. the germans used steel-jacketed bullets which would have gone through the wedge and shredded the propeller, so it wouldn't have worked for them anyhow. another piece of trivia i didn't know. i think that's a footnote, too,
5:01 pm
so it's pretty interesting. what else? well, i think i've about worn out my welcome. i appreciate you guys coming out, especially on a friday when there's lots of things to do in the local area. so i hope you enjoy the book. if any of you want to and you want me to sign it, i'll be happy to, and i've got, i've got the standard web site. harpercollins has a facebook page for me if you want to ever get ahold of me direct. i do get back to everybody who contacts me. it may take a while, but i do. they put videos on there, interviews and other things, and i'll answer any questions that you may think of later. anyway, thanks very much for coming, and i enjoyed it. [applause] >> thank you so much. and thank you for coming. i would invite you to line up on that side and come around in the front of the desk if you would like to have your book signed. and thanks again for coming out on a friday night.
5:02 pm
[inaudible conversations] >> booktv is on twitter and facebook, and we want to hear from you. tweet us,, or post a comment on our facebook page, >> up next, attorney stephen halbrook argues that the nazi government in germany used gun control to disarm and repress its enemies and consolidate power. he spoke at the independent institute in oakland, california. it's about 90 minutes. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen. my name is david thoreau, and i'm the founder and president of
5:03 pm
the independent institute. i'm delighted to welcome you this evening. this is another meeting of a program of ours called the independent policy forum, and in addition to our audience here and our conference center in oakland, california, i want to welcome our viewers on c-span and also those who are joining with us worldwide who are live streaming online. the independent policy forum is a series of lectures, seminars, debates and other discussions held here at the independent institute. we are delighted to have our old friend dr. steven halbrook with us who will be speaking on are there lessons for us today from nazi gun control. and that, of course, is based on his new landmark book called "gun control in the third reich: disarming the jews and,
5:04 pm
quote-unquote, enemies of the state." you can find information in your registration packets or online about our program. to provide some background, the institute is a nonprofit, scholarly public policy research institute. we sponsor in-depth studies of social and economic issues. and the purpose is to boldly advance peaceful, process produce and -- prosperous and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. the results of this work are published as books such as dr. halbrook's and form the basis for numerous conference and media projects. one of our other publications is the quarterly journal "the independent review." this is the current issue. for those of you who we could interest in becoming a subscribe iser, i think you'll find you will not be sorry. if you go online, you can subscribe and get a free copy of the book called "crisis and leviathan." we seek, nor -- we neither seek,
5:05 pm
nor accept government funding. the institute draws all of its support from private contributions, memberships and the sale of books and events such as tonight. with tragic shootings in the u.s., we've seen a triggering of a new debate over gun control. but are there lessons from history that we should be mindful of? based on recently discovered secret documents from german archives, diaries and newspapers of the time, dr. halbrook has now written an unprecedented new history of how violence in the liberal democratic society or system of pre-1930 germany, pre-nazi germany led to gun control measures that that werer utilized by the national socialists to repress opponents and consolidate power. ironically enough, the countless
5:06 pm
books on the third reich and the holocaust have failed even to mention the laws restricting firearms' ownership with very few exceptions. and these policies rendered political opponents, including jews who were viewed as political opponents, powerless. a skeptic could surmise that a better armed populace would make no difference, but the nazi regime certainly did not think so. it ruthlessly suppressed, literally crushed gun ownership birdies favored groups. -- by disfavored groups. it spans two decades from 1918 through crystal knot or, quote-unquote, night of the broken glass, unquote, in 1938 and the pertinent events during world war ii regarding the effects of disarming policies. research fellow at the independent institute, dr. steven halbrook is the renowned constitutional legal scholar, attorney and author who
5:07 pm
has won three cases before the supreme court, testified before numerous congressional committees, been interviewed on cnn, fox, court tv and elsewhere and been published in the "wall street journal," "usa today" and many other publications. his many books in addition to the gun control in the third reich include "the founders' second amendment," "securing civil rights," "that every man be armed," and "target switzerland." so i'm very pleased to introduce steven halbrook. [applause] >> thank you, david. it's a real pleasure to be here. it's getting rather déjà vu. i can't remember exactly how many times we've done this, but -- and thank you all for coming out tonight. and i just want to have special thanks and recognition to my wife, brenda, and my daughter, melissa, who just graduated from high school. they're in the audience in the
5:08 pm
back if you'll wave or something. [applause] i got interested in this summit, actually, in about 1968 -- subject, and there was a big political debate in this country about federal and state gun control laws, and there was a federal law that passed, gun control act of 1968. and it's probably not well remembered now, but there were many proposals at that time to require registration of either all firearms or all handguns in the u.s., a federal law that would do that and would have criminal penalties for failure to do that. and there was a historic debate that actually took place between congressman john dingell, who's still there, and a senator named tidings from maryland and also representative dodd, chris dodd's father, who had been a prosecutor at nuremberg. and congressman dingell
5:09 pm
suggested that, i heene, the war had only -- i mean, the war had only been over 22 years at that point, 23 years, and kind of like haven't we heard this before? it sounds like nazi germany. and the proponents of the legislation said that, no, the nazis never registered guns, and they would never have used registration records for anything naughty. [laughter] and so the administration commissioned a library of congress study, and it came back stating that registration of guns was not something that nazi germ had anything to do with -- germany had anything to do with, and there's no records that guns were ever confiscated that had been registered. and when they invaded other countries, there was no information that they ever used registration records to locate gun owners. and they didn't do much research to come to the conclusions. but anyway, i got interested in it way back when, and what was incredible to me was that no
5:10 pm
historian deals with this subject, it's virtually unmentioned whatsoever. and if you see any mention, i think there might be one of the two books that might have a footnote or something. but that's about it. and i want to say right at the beginning the title of this presentation has to do with are there lessons to be learned. and i think the lessons speak for themselves. i will not engage in the kind of discourse in which i would say that some proponent of some legislation, that that's nazi-like or that these are gestapo tactics or anything like that. i don't think we need to engage in that kind of rhetoric. there's too much of that that goes on. but one thing that is clear is that there's been a lot of denial about what took place in nazi germany, and it's time that the historical record be made clear, and that's what i set out to do in the book many years ago. i actively wrote the book and
5:11 pm
did research for it for about 15 years because being that the sources are either in english or german, published sources don't deal with this topic. it was necessary to do a lot of archival research in germany. i did some myself. i also retained one of the best archival researchers in germany who does this topic who knows these record groups very well. and we came to some very interesting conclusions that are presented in the book. but historically, the way it all started was right at the end of the great war. 1918, 1919 there were communist uprisings in germany. the monarch fell, the republic was established, and there was a virtual civil war. and i will do a little bit of show and tell. i don't have any of the street scenes to show you from that period, but if you've ever seen any documentaries on it, you'll see people running every which
5:12 pm
way and machine guns in the streets and the fight corps which was the, basically, voluntary group that sided with the government to repress the communist uprisings. like had taken place in russia, a bolshevik-type coup. and so there was quite a lot of chaos. and then under the versailles treaty, there was the idea in germany that either all arms or all military arms had to be surrendered including by civilians. there were actually legal interpretations in germany that no civilian could own any gun, and they all had to be turned in. there were actually court cases about this during the early 1920s. but things calmed down somewhat. but then we head to 1923, you have the great inflation, and you have a communist uprising in hamburg which was ruthlessly put down, and then you have hitler's -- nubble in munich where -- [inaudible] in munich where they actually
5:13 pm
succeeded in seizing a beer hall, but they didn't succeed in seizing the state. [laughter] so then he goes and writes "mein kampf" when he's in prison, and things calm down. 1928, however, the reichstag passed a gun control law that was the first of its kind in germany, and it required a lot of recordkeeping. thatthere was no registration system, but there were records to be kept that could be subject to police inspection. and a curious thing about it is there was no debate in the legislature or the reichstag. it passed without any debate whatever, which would be a phenomenon in itself. but things started getting, raring up again as we approached the '30s. and in 1931 for the first time, germany adopted a legislation or
5:14 pm
a decree, there were legislative decree that is the executive branch could make -- that the executive branch could make, and it called for a registration of the german state that is adopted it. so you had, like, berlin and most of the large jurisdictions adopting firearm registration, and some areas did not do so. but by and large, most places did. because in 1931 before this took place, there were -- the nazi party had declared itself in favor of legal elections by that point. but there was an incident, there was a hotel called boxheimer, and there was an individual named werner best, and he was heavily involved with the sa, the stormtroopers. and the document had purported to deal with if there was a communist revolt and the nazis needed to seize power, which
5:15 pm
many people interpreted to mean this was a plan for a nazi seizure of power, and it had things like there would be rationing of food, jews would not get any food supplies. and it had a provision that everyone would be ordered to turn in their firearms within 24 hours, or they would be executed. so this individual, werner best, actually would go on to become an official in the gestapo, and we'll hear from him a little bit more this evening. but these documents were discovered, and they weren't taken too seriously. nonetheless, there was still a lot of street fighting going on between the communists and the nazis. they were basically armed thugs in the streets. and so it was decided in december of 1931 that the executive branch would decree these firearm registration legislation. now, at that time the republic,
5:16 pm
the executive branch could rule by decree. you hear a lot about executive decrees today. well, this allowed the executive branch, basically, to not bother consulting the legislative branch at all and simply make decrees, and this was one of 'em. in fact, this decree covered a lot of subjects, and the consulate at that time -- and now we'll test my electronic abilities -- heinrich bruning, basically the head of the german government, and there was something called the enabling act which allowed the executive branch, as i said, to issue these decrees. and that's what he did. and that was one thing that the republic adopted that was a horrible precedent, because when the nazis came to power, they could rule by decree just as well. and so this one particular decree, if i can move to that, this is like the decree about
5:17 pm
internal security, and it's about misuse of weapons. but when you look at the first provision, this section one provided for registration of all firearms by all people. and then it had a provision too here which stated that anytime the officials, the authorities decided it was needed for public security, they could require everybody who registered their firearms to turn them in. now, that's an interesting thing to put in a firearm registration law. it was quite honest, wasn't it, that they would admit -- because when you have firearm basically registration, you know, debated and proposed, it's always, we'll never confiscate them. well, here they had it right in the law that the authorities can decree a public emergency, and they can confiscate all firearms, and there's a duty to turn them in, and you'll be
5:18 pm
incarcerated if you don't. so that came down right before christmas of '31, and the equivalent to our attorney general, the interior minister, gorner, cement out a directive saying -- sent out a directive saying you have to be very careful with these registration records. this went to the officials who were keeping them. we don't want them to fall into the hands of extremist groups or radical elements. he actually said don't keep them at the local police departments, put them in more centralized facilities for safekeeping. [laughter] and so that was the directive, and that's, i assume that's what they did. they didn't have computers, obviously, at that time. but they did get the ibm punchcard technology by the time the nazis came into power. how many of you remember that? i remember those very well. there was a lot, a lot of that technology in our own lifetime
5:19 pm
still before this electronic business. so they could pull registration owners for -- records for gun owners, jews, protestants, catholics, the whole works. they had all the records on anything. so 1933, hitler and his party comes to power, and they immediately start attacking physically their political enemies. that would be social democrats, the party who had, probably had more power than any other as a single party. but also liberal parties, conservative parties. they multiplied day by day. the more opposition that arose, the more this repression would happen. and all opposition was invariably called communist. so that if you opposed what the nazis were doing, you were a communist. and if you read the newspapers of that time, you'll find on a daily basis accounts of searches
5:20 pm
and seizures of ire -- firearms and arrests of so-called communists. so that goes on 1933, and you had the use of the ire arm records -- firearms records. i have a whole chapter on this, actually, the case where i got the records of a directive from herman goering came down who was the high official in the nazi regime, and he basically said you need to check the political reliability of all persons with firearm permits. and so i actually found records where local authorities went through, and they would give a name, and they would say what that person's profession was and whether he was politically reliable. if he's a social democrat, he's not, and his weapon permit's going to be confiscated as well as his gun. and then you go down the list, and i found there was one jew where they wanted to take his
5:21 pm
weapon permit, but there was another where they actually let him keep it, at least for that point. so political reliability meant that you supported naziism or national socialism and that you were not politically reliable if you did not. and so these were actually records not there the registration of guns, but from the licensing. people who had license permits to possess guns, to carry guns, to purchase guns, things like that. or ammunition. so there was some repression against jews in 1933. it was not as harsh as against the political opponents, because the dictatorship wanted to consolidate its power. it was basically use of the law and physical force in every means necessary to make sure that the nazi party became supreme. because for all anybody knew in those days, it'd be just another
5:22 pm
temporary government. during the wymar republic, the governments would rise and fall very quickly. sometimes they would be in power a couple years and sometimes maybe just a few weeks. so adolf hitler wanted to make sure that his power was consolidated, and you had the reichstag fire more emergency decrees to justify there's this communist insurrection that's going to go on, so we've got to ban free speech, assembly, things like that. but by the way, the wymar republic did a lot of the same thing. the registration law, if you go to the provisions after gun registration, it was no public assemblies and no free speech. you could not make political, politically-subversive speeches. so these things seemed to go together. but there was one case, there was more than one case, but one famous case of a search and seizure operation against jews in germany.
5:23 pm
this was in april of 1933. there were raids that took place in the jewish quarter in berlin. and here's actually some illustration. this picture and the next one i'll show you are illustrations of that raid. this is from the nazi paper, and basically it says raid in the jewish quarter. and if you read the article that follows, it talks about the subversive literature that was seized and the guns that were seize inside this search and seizure operation. and here you see a number of uniform police that's in the jewish part of berlin at that time, and so basically it was kind of more of a sideshow, the repression of jews at that time. but the biggest actions were against the so-called communists or political opponents. and second illustration that's from the the same article,
5:24 pm
that's an elderly jewish man, and down on the left is a criminal police inspector interrogating him. and you see the little square in front of them, that's radio. and so they're broadcasting this interview, and the nazis were masters of propaganda. and so they're putting this raid on the radio, and they're basically depicting it as, you know, these jews, they shouldn't be in the country, and just here's this old man. he pretends he doesn't know why he's being arrested and interrogated. i mean, you're supposed to get it, right? you know, he's a jew, he shouldn't have a gun, he shouldn't have this subversive literature which all that. and all that. so that's an example of some of the repression going on then. but as time goes by in the coming months, it gets more internal because you have, i mean, the nazi party was like a
5:25 pm
criminal gang, so you had hitler wanting absolute power n. 1934 you have him, basically, wiping out in the night of long nighs the sa leadership and others. so it becomes like a fight within the mafia itself for who's going to be the capo. and hitler comes out supreme. and at the same time, everything was coming under nazi control. political parties were abolished, the labor unions were abolished, sports had to come under the control of the reich, and that included gun clubs. and there were a lot of independent gun clubs very -- some of them had been in existence for hundreds of years in germany. and if they refused to make their leaders of the club nazi members, then the club president and the vice president and all that, these people would be arrested and taken into gestapo
5:26 pm
custody. so this is in the period of forcing into the line or -- [inaudible] in which all elements of society were being taken within the nazi way of life and the national socialist agenda. so we go through that period, and at the same time you start having a lot more focus on getting at the jews and how horrible they are. and here's our friend werner best. and he's the one who authored the 1931 boxheimer document which talked about the execution of persons who were gun owners who didn't turn them in within 24 hours if there was a nazi takeover. he was actually a, he had a law degree, he had some kind of judicial office. and when the nazis came to power, he became the chief legal adviser of the gestapo. the secret state police.
5:27 pm
and in that role he had quite a policy-making role. one of his documents about gun ownership for jews we'll look at a little bit closer in a minute. but he was involved in getting the j stamp put on jewish identities and passports, and he was involved after the war began, he was sent first to france and then to denmark. in 1931 when the war began, every country cannot occupied by the nazis -- country not occupied by the nazis, they had a policy of putting up posters and saying you have to turn in your firearms within 24 hours or you'll be executed. that's exactly from the same document from 1931 that he personally had authored, and he was in charge of those policies and others in those occupied
5:28 pm
countries. if you ever go to the museum in france, the one where napoleon's body is -- [inaudible conversations] >> right. they've got, they've got one of those original posters there that you turn in your guns within 24 hours. and you know what? they didn't put a date or a time when the clock started ticking. it just says that. and i've dope a lot of, wait, you're going to turn it in, and you're five minutes late? [laughter] but, actually, i've gotten a lot of original records on that. it was a decree they made throughout their occupation, and there were so many frenchmen who wouldn't go by it that they kept just publishing it over and over in the paper. you know, you've got 24 hours. [laughter] the next day, you've got 24 hours. they actually did start executing a lot of people. that's also in the newspapers. and then the french were so bad about turning in their guns that there came a time when the
5:29 pm
commander in paste -- in paris said we're not going to publish the names anymore, we're just going to shoot these people. so that's another summit, but werner best was in charge of some of those programs. and we'll return to him in a moment. actually, this is probably a good moment, because i think -- yeah, that's the document that's next. so this is a document authored by werner best. the gestapo had asked about issuing gun permits to jews. this was dated december 1935, because there was never any, there was never any decree or law against jewish possession of guns in germany until at the time of the crystal knot. and this, werner best's advised and said: the jewish people are considerable danger to the german people. and, i mean, nothing had
5:30 pm
happened. i mean, in germany itself the german jews had done nothing. there were no assassinations, no attacks on the nazis. they had a central association we'll talk about in a minute that tried their to alleviate the harsher and harsher conditions. but he's making this policy statement that you had to look at the the political reliability. and in most cases we don't think jews are politically reliable, meaning that they're nazi supporters. and, therefore, you had to be very careful about issuing gun permits to jews. basically, he's advising don't do it, and it's got to be, basically, approved by gestapo officials. you're not going to just, you know, the local police are not going to just issue these permits. and so this was from the gestapo, and this was addressed to the gestapo, and the gestapo which is part of a kind of underling of the gestapo and to
5:31 pm
all the other relevant police agencies. so here you have nothing had changed in the law, the jews were eligible for the gun permits. so so one thing going back to the wymar law to get a permit to acquire a gun or to carry a gun, you had to meet certain criteria. you had to be trustworthy. so anybody who was considered up trustworthy by the authorities, you don't get your gun can permit. they had a discretionary issuance as we would call it today. so i think it shows you the danger of language like that if you have selective language that will allow authorities to decide who gets a permit as opposed to subjective information. things like that. ..
5:32 pm
5:33 pm
5:34 pm
fully involved ibut we involvede jews in 1938 grade but when he came as the police president he strongly objected to the kind of tactics because basically he unleashed these brownshirts to go wild in the street. he was not in berlin at the time he was in munich. 1944 they joined the opposition to hitler and when the attack took place in july of 1944 and we were exposed and wound up and it was a part of that conspiracy
5:35 pm
and he would be one of those that would be tried at the trials that took place at the piano wire so he made it into berlin, but that was the case with some of the opposition they had been part of the nazi party and a lot of the bad things that it did but then they came around to the point where either it was because we had enough of the oppression or because hitler was becoming an idiot and couldn't win the war and passing the city and its anniversary of these four days ago of july 1944 to 2014 quite a historic day when the bomb went off and unfortunately some idiot had moved away from hitler.
5:36 pm
here you can article from november 91938. this article it wasn't published but they were disarming the jews until i think it was november 8 there was a polish jewish teenager who walked into the embassy in paris and shot a german diplomat, not a very high position at all but it was just the kind of event that not the regime could latch onto to justify what it was about two to. it could be the conventional story was this young teenager had relatives who were polish jews and they were deported and was he trying to get revamped from that or so that a jew would
5:37 pm
kill somebody and then they would have the excuse to launch the program that came next? the article talks about in the last -- in the last few weeks and it doesn't give a starting date, often they were disarming and it tells you the supposedly seized 2,569 handle weapons, 1702 and the 20,000 cartridges. what kind of bureaucrats do you have to be to handle cartridges? i don't know. and it goes on to explain the jews were made emphatically known in berlin they have to turn in their gun stand there with him and who knows what they consider to be a hand weapon like the letter opener would be
5:38 pm
but it was made known to them the article states by a suspect putting up notices in the judicial orders in berlin. maybe word-of-mouth. we do know that they had their records on all gun owners in the jewish gun owners and they had registration and do not see information in germany at that time when you were born they would put them in the record. we had to be his harsh means to let them know because they were not turning them in and it says that those without licenses are required to turn them in both we had the documents so we are going to get to the instance
5:39 pm
mixed that exemplifies the fact that all of them were required to turn in their guns. so this was published with the first noticed to the world that they were being disarmed in germany and this was summarized and published in "the new york times" and other papers, prominent papers in the u.s. and britain and countries like that. now we go back in history and bring it up to that same period again in a moment. a gentle man in the middle was a three-time gold-medal winner in the olympics and in 1896 in gymnastics and the fellows on the left and right are two other gymnasts who were prominent german olympic stars at that
5:40 pm
time. alfred was jewish that didn't make much difference in those days and he went on to become a top figure in german athletics. he became a prominent individual and we will see in a moment today to the olympics in berlin in 1936. they didn't want to dignify the
5:41 pm
regime because they were being severely attacked at the time but then he called it off so they could kind of clean up their act for the olympics and they could show to the world so he refused to go and then we turned the clock to 1938 and 19t a moment we will go over what happened to him in terms of his guns but by 1942 the world had come about if they were wearinga star of david and he was deported to the concentration camp that was kind of a concentration camp for intellectuals and people like that who wasn't the worst one in the world probably for that reason but within just a few weeks of being there he was starved to death so he met his end that way. but now we get to the reason why i'm talking about him and there
5:42 pm
was able to detect -- detective work going on with this. the. we didn't know the significance of this employee started researching it, but at the top it says report about a political case so they could arrest for political reasons and that's what this is and we start looking at the information on it and that is alfred fliptop who has the date of birth and place of birth done into the current address and i didn't know who this guy was but i googled him borne on that date and it turns outurnedout to be this olympic o that made it pretty interesting.
5:43 pm
and then it added political affiliations. that is the word of political affiliation. that doesn't say communist or anything like that. he was not political. this is the address for the crime scene. he turned out to be the police station. so the crime scene as the police station and that sounds kind of weird. we will put two and two together in a few minutes and see what is going on there.
5:44 pm
and it has to. he had a bicycle shop and sold stuff and in those days there was a lot of street fighting going on and if you wanted to protect yourself you might want a knuckle buster. but it's very bizarre. but what is not bizarre is one revolver, two pocket pistols and twentysomething rounds of ammunition so that was confiscated from him and in the book in the illustrations you will see the next page of the report which i don't have that i will tell you what was in it. the next page was criminal act and it said possession of weapons.
5:45 pm
it wasn't a legal for a jew to have a weapon at a time. and arms in the hands of the jews are dangerous to public safety. and the most important part for the topic the arms are registered in police station 13 and on january 261932. he registered his gun with the police during the repair period and the records were still there. that's how they knew he had these weapons. so, you look at the rest of the
5:46 pm
report and i don't have that illustrated here that copies are not in the illustration part of the book but it's the translation is there. but the report basically said it's been turned over to the gestapo which is the underside of the gestapo and it doesn't say what happened after that to him. i suspect he was probably interrogated and released after a while. but the curious thing was when you look at the time of this arrest and the next report that we had it was only about 12 minutes later at the same crime scene and the police station. and if so wha so what i know isn them it doesn't take much to summarize the head in order to turn in their weapon and that is what they were doing. they were the police station turning them in and they were in line and he gets turned over to the gestapo as well.
5:47 pm
what do you have here? they are ordered to turn them in and they are arrested as they are effectively disarmed and then they could move onto the next stage. so, the next stage was chris. they have to point it so they can go. what it shows is that suggests he was planned on the nazis. they were getting ready for it and they were disarming and this would leak it really easy for them to carry out and make sure there was no resistance. >> now that this individual was the head of the central or the jewish association of germany and that was the umbrella group for all of the jewish organizations and he was an attorney and him and his
5:48 pm
associates had to try their best to represent the jewish community in tha the country and under the rest of the conditions. when the order came down it came down nationwide in germany do they turn in their weapons because he was apparently in munich in either him or his associates went to see the munich police chief and turn in their weapons and what was repeated to him was there a danger to public safety and he records in his autobiography that he had bought a new browning's gun which he doesn't know what kind and he had to turn it in and he was disturbed about this.
5:49 pm
he would be arrested and thrown into the concentration camp and he escaped with his wife who is a famous historian in england and in the. and here we have a motley crew you would know who they are and this is in september of 38. they are both going to play a major role in what is about to come. after herschel shocked the german diplomats into the embassy, he lingered a couple of days. the regime with the party was having its annual event in munich where the old comrades from the 1923 beer hall that would get togethewouldget togeto
5:50 pm
their comrades. he hated hunting and sport. but basically the phone call came in to say that the diplomat had died. and so they had some conversations and basically he said let's let them have a fla flame. so he basically orchestrates and orders one around to all authorities, police type of authorities basically saying the tsa is in charge, the police are not to intervene, firefighters are not intervene unless the five-year spreads from a jewish synagogue to comic you know, the non-jewish facility. and then the brown shirts startinstarting that night and g through the next day and night basically going on this horrible rampage in germany, and what we
5:51 pm
have here is the morning after the first action convinced the head of the ss and the german police issues this proclamation and what it says is it' it is illegal for jews to have weapons and you see the symbol issues this november 10 in the decree that persons who are according to the laurinburg law archi areh and any evaluators will be put into concentrations longer, concentration camps and will be subject to 20 years incarceration. so had the war not come you could have been a jew with a weapon, felt the surrender. this is 1938 could be there until 1958.
5:52 pm
so it is quite phenomenal the threat of the punishment. so, that was decreed at a time and what was actually going on at that time was this where you have the attacks on the jewish home and it is justified by saying research for weapons. i think whole chapter o that people that live in those days were either wrote books or were interviewed or what not and they would ask where are the weapons. they asked that at synagogues and orphanages like why don't we have weapons here? but it also asked in places they did have weapons. rusty revolvers, jewish men played a major role in the german defeat could german army and many of them had been officers said they had their revolvers still because they were about to keep them after
5:53 pm
the war. there were numerous accounts of the gun owners having turned americans into getting arrested were trying to get rid of them. two friendly police officers were throwing them into the river and things like that so that takes place you also have familiar seems like that's why they call it the night of the broken glass, and here we have the concentration camp. it is about 10,000 here you can see their heads are shaved and he gave a press conference about the same day november 10 or so and he said what are you talking about? jewish men are being picked up. then he left the press conference a few minutes in and came back out and the swiss journalist asked him like you know, we are getting all of these reports. what do you say about that? there were a number that were
5:54 pm
picked up for weapons. so they had at least ten, 20,000. maybe more. nobody really knows. they were mostly picking up people who were thought to have money but then they had to pay their way to get out so one more scheme for them to engage in class warfare as they saw it the entitlement program of the day. that basically ends the book. i guess i can turn it back. you have to look at this more in picture. we have a chapter like what happens next, and it was interesting if you were seized by the gestapo could never get that review of your
5:55 pm
incarceration or why you were there. and it just right after, there was a ruling verifying that. it was about a gun club where one of them that didn't want to be nazis that was sticking them into the context and of course with the concentration camps for all of that time if you were seized by the gestapo and you were in that kind of custody you couldn't get the review but if you were seized by the ordinary police you couldn't have your case go to court and there was a case i found that because there was also an alternative to create by the interior minister that said they couldn't have weapons and that if they were arrested for that they went through the ordinary proceedings and they found a record of jewish man who was arrested and they didn't tell what the result was that at least he got his day in court.
5:56 pm
in the rest of the book i have this kind of an incidental review of some of the different things that happened. and i think what most people are familiar with in this issue is the uprising where they were able to get the guns and a day to go for that ghetto in warsaw. they stop the deportation of few days and one of my favorite incidenceincidences as a germanr has been shot and he was running it telling. he is running away. and they said this shows what you do when you have guns in your hands. their hands. so i thought that was quite an endorsement. so i think that's probably about enough for me and if we want to move on we have a few minutes for q-and-a and i think questions and comments i will open it up. yes sir. wait for the microphone.
5:57 pm
let's get the microphone. >> does this also apply to people that were not wholly jewish part clicks connect to the extent they were jewish by the number of law and it is very complicated and they had a think if you're down to a fourth maybe it wouldn't apply that i've seen charts of these how did you ever figure this out. out. >> you titled this talk are there lessons? what would you suggest? what are the lessons for us? the lesson is be careful what you wish for.
5:58 pm
another is history does repeat itself and there is the old comment about those that don't learn from history do repeat. it doesn't always repeat itself or do it in the same way. but i do think that we should be cautious. the supreme court justice felix said in the case involving the police search and seizure in the supreme court case what we don't want to exemplify in any way is what we have seen, for example with the gestapo tactics. so, what i think is it some slick pr unique society where nothing bad could ever happen and so if we talk about the gun registration or that kind of topic you have to talk about is there any benefit to it? they registered the gun and the communistcommunists in the '90st were called into trouble never did. and so we have to assess to the
5:59 pm
extent some of these proposals or even constitutional and we have to assess what can happen. are there bad things that can happen with it and so i think all of these topics all of the different laws are the republic passed before them have to be taken into consideration to that calculus. ..
6:00 pm
>> it was not the fascist party, tt term gets misused. it was the german, the national german socialist workers' party. national socialists, that's what they called themselves. they were socialists. hello. there's an excellent book called "the vampire economy" which was written by an economics professor who escaped nazi germany and came here, and it explains how through and through that regime there was government control of the economy. and it's the same, it was the same in russia. so it was about competing attempts to have supreme state power with different doctrines to some extent. >> [inaudible] >> goebbels was -- there were a number of nazis who were originally communists. and -- yes. >> well, my comment is a bit late. but i would have wished that you had entitled your book gun
6:01 pm
control in the wymar republic. because so many people that i have talked to and raised this issue with have sort of made it sounder relevant because they say, well, they were nazis, so what can you expect? but the fact that gun control originated in the w, with mar -- wymar republic, a democratic republic, i think, is the real lesson to be learned from history. but maybe you'll write another book. [laughter] >> no, that's a very good point, and i've got three whole chapters on that. we're only talking about the title, and probably if it said gun control in the wymar republic, nobody would buy it. [laughter] okay. all right, where's the mic? yes, sir. who's got the mic? >> considering that there were very few jews in germany compared to, say, poland, how many jews in germany actually
6:02 pm
owned weapons? what percentage? >> well, no way to know how many jews or how many so-called aryans or -- >> they knew who was jewish, therefore, they knew who to send out the orders to surrender them to. >> well, you know -- >> germans can cross-reference. >> it's never been published, i've never seen any archive that is that, but you're right, there could have been a document that had the number of jewish gun owner who is registered their guns or who had licenses for their guns. there would be no documents for those who had neither of those but who were gun owners. but the history i went through is full of the fact that jews, they were very assimilated in germany, and they were very much like other -- >> the only reason most jews, if any, the few jews that had them was for target shooting and for sport. they didn't hunt. we don't hunt for food. it's not kosher. [laughter] >> well, as a matter of fact, it
6:03 pm
was decreed twice that germans had guns for hunting licenses. but, you know, the record is the record. nobody has data on that. you can make surmises. there were certainly members of jewish gun clubs, because they were kicked out of them. but that's another study, and that ooh's -- it's -- that's, it'd be interesting to know all those things. >> we're talking about lessons from history, and this is right up my alley. unfortunately, americans all know one quotation, and they do not know a certain other one. everybody knows santana's quotation that those who forget the past are destined to repeat it. brilliant at its time, meaningless today. why is it meaningless? it is repeated as a mantra. this entire room can repeat it,
6:04 pm
and it means nothing because it is no longer a warning of the danger. the actual operative quotation comes from hagel who died in the 1850s. all right? and his quotation was transferred, was translated by george bernard shaw, one of the great intellectuals, a socialist, of england. and he said, his translation is -- he simplified hagel. he said the great lesson of history is that man kind learns nothing from history. [laughter] and that one if you use it, you have some warning. so what history you know, please, adopt it to what you see going around you today. thank you. >> thank you. >> here's a question from one of the live stream people. >> okay. >> i have a question from the live stream people, wherever they may be. and what do you think, why do you think that any mention of
6:05 pm
nazi gun laws is dismissed by -- [inaudible] as paranoid exaggeration? >> [inaudible] >> pardon? >> mainstream media. >> mainstream media. sounds like one of those other, what do you call 'em, terms? >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> yeah. there's a, if you go on the internet, you'll see a lot of denial that any of this ever took place. hitler was the gun owner's best friend except that he wanted to kill all jews and disarm them first. we actually, in the year 2000 i published my first law review article on this subject, and there was a professor bernard harcott basically saying, right, he wanted to kill and disarm all jews, but other than that he was the gun owner's friend. [laughter] it's like, other than that? isn't that enough? [laughter] and he was not a friend of gun
6:06 pm
owners. he was a friend of, you know, national socialist power and occupying other countries and killing other peoples. sure, he wanted his military people to be well trained, but that was so they could disarm and kill other people. so, you know, and if you go on the internet, you'll see some of the same line of reasoning, that none of this happened and that the nazis actually made it easier for everyone to own guns. do it tonight, you'll see it. i promise you. >> early in your talk you mentioned something that i didn't remember reading in the book, and i found it fascinating, and and i'm kind of curious why you didn't have it in the book, or maybe you're going to do something in the future about the u.s. government being assigned a study to find out about gun control in nazi germany and the -- in 1968. >> right. >> when they're discussing the
6:07 pm
original proposal for the u.s. gun control law. and i'm curious why you didn't mention that in the book and maybe is there something coming up about that? >> it's actually in the introduction of the book. >> okay. >> it's actually there. >> okay. >> i promise you. >> because that seems like a very big thing. and there's another book which i think is -- you cited it in yours, but it seem to be a great complement to your book. it's a little more radical in certain ways, but it has some great archival material too, and that is "gun control -- excuse me, "gun control in germany, the gateway to tyranny." >> right. >> and it actually translates those three gun control laws in germany and then puts the '38 one side by side with the 1968 -- >> right. >> -- one. >> right. >> and it's really scary about how much overlap there is between the two. >> well, it's all about keeping records on law-abiding people. that's what it's all about. but that -- the book you
6:08 pm
mentioned did a great service by having the original german in the gothic type, the way it was originally published, in one page. on the facing page, it would have english translating for the 1928 law, the '31 decree and the 1938 law. >> [inaudible] >> right. and the u.s. law. >> [inaudible] >> it just -- you'll see in the parts of the congressional record or hearing records, rather, where i found the library of congress study that dodd had a copy of the german law that he loaned to the library of congress to do their study. but let me say that england had passed the same kind of legislation in 1919 and thereafter. so they didn't really have to learn or translate the german law to get ideas for what they wanted to do on registration and all the licensing requirements. certainly, he was aware of it,
6:09 pm
yes. >> i don't know if you're the one that deemed the wymar republic legislation to be well intentioned, but however, it is mentioned in some of the literature that that legislation was well intentioned. if you disagree with that, can you tell us why? and if you agree with that, can you tell us on what basis you believe that it was well intentioned? >> they perceived of themselves as being well intentioned. okay? in terms of judging other people's motives, that's a difficult thing to do. by and large, i don't think the leaders identity weimar
6:10 pm
republic, they showed no proclivities to do that. they did have a lot of problem, the hyperinflation, the fighting in the streets, communists shooting police from buildings, nazis murdering people. and, but the thing is what kind of scheme do you come up with to deal with that? you know, do you focus on people committing acts of violence, or do you just focus on the general public? it's easy to focus on the general public. and so you had some officials, and they didn't get what they wanted, but there were police officials who wanted to ban all guns by civilians during the weimar years, and there were the same debates we have today, a document took place in the weimar period in the discussions about the 1931 decree before that because the executive branch put it out, like we're thinking about doing this and what do you say. and there were some officials would say this won't do any good, you've got to go after the criminals, it doesn't do any good to hyperregulate
6:11 pm
law-abiding people. and then the other side of that was the same familiar tune that you hear today, that we have to do this in registering these people, we have to, you know, make sure their papers are in order. and your papers are not in order. [laughter] so -- >> here's another one. >> okay. here's another streaming one. [laughter] how do we -- i have to read this. how do we inform state, federal legislators of these facts and draw similarities to what we currently see going on such as state laws and how federal agencies are being used? and, i mean, when you go through this history, you see a lot of familiar things, executive decrees, a mistrust for the general population wanting to register gun owners or confiscate guns, to ban certain kinds of guns. you have a lot of that here in california. that's why you're all here. [laughter] and i think it's important to
6:12 pm
study what happened in history. i was always amazed once i really got into the topic why doesn't anybody say anything about this topic. but the national socialists were emphatic that they had to disarm people. and why did they do it? they weren't, like, looking out for the -- they didn't want, it wasn't like they didn't want jewish children to have accidents with guns or, you know, they were protecting them from themselves and, you know, if somebody wanted to dispossess of a gun, it wasn't because the gun was likely to be used by a criminal against them. i mean, they were doing this to disarm people so they could oppress them and kill them. and i don't ascribe that motive to people proposing similar things today. but i do think they don't trust the people at large to use james madison's term about this, in america the people are trusted with arms unlike under the european monarchies.
6:13 pm
so, you know, motives are one thing, but reality is another. you've got -- who's got the mic gets to talk. >> yeah. speaking of well-intentioned laws and relate that to the 1968 federal gun control law. as i understand it, correct me if i'm wrong, the reason behind that was, i believe, a number of assassinations; martin luther king and the two kennedy brothers. now, how do you relate that in terms of the infamous quote? do you see that as well intentioned or another interpretation of never let a good crisis go to waste? [laughter] >> well, a lot of that was going on. these bills had languished in congress until we had a lot of, you know, terrible political incidents, assassinations and what not. and so, i mean, the way the dodd bill got started out was he
6:14 pm
wanted to protect the american gun industry from imports, and it ended up having -- [inaudible] for imports. so that was achieved this the final bill as well -- in the final bill as well. a lot of other stuff got added there. but also a lot of things got defeated. like registration was defeated soundly, and it has been ever since. we actually had a law right before pearl harbor that decreed against registration. you had the same in the act of '86 and you even have the brady act without which it couldn't have been passed. so you have some protections, but you, you know, how good are these protections and how -- will they last? that's the critical point. whoever's got the mic. yes, sir. >> one thing we're seeing this day is the increasing militarization of our, of our police forces, particularly local lis forces -- police forces and statewide.
6:15 pm
the ramping up of the firepower there. supposedly to go against the firepower of the criminal gangs. but it seems from reading the news that it's more convenient for them to go against unarmed or poorly-armed civilians rather than to go against people who might be able to shoot back at them effectively. my question, the question regarding that was is there any parallel -- it's not clear, this doesn't seem to clearly fit into german history, but how do you see this sort of militarization fitting into the issue of civilian, you know, of guns and lessons in the third reich there? >> one thing you'll see in the book in 1933goering had become head of the gestapo, prussian side of the gestapo, and he made it where -- he told, there were a whole bunch of new police officers coming in because they
6:16 pm
were sa people originally and what not, and he told them don't worry about it, you know, shoot first and ask questions later, and you won't be held liable for that. there was an official statement that he put out to all of them. he basically said, you know, get tough with the communists and all our opponents, and don't be afraid to shoot. and so a lot more of these people came under arms, and i'm sure their equipment got better. but, you know, the problem of militarization of law enforcement in this country right now is the same problem as, you know, overcriminallization of human activity large by congress and other legislative bodies and all the eavesdropping. so we've, you know, think about it, gestapo eavesdropping, they're trying to listen on the phone. they're listening, they have informers everywhere. and like now people don't talk together anymore because they're on the internet, but then they know where you're going on the internet. so it's, you know, it's quite an eavesdropping heaven that we're in right now. >> back to history again.
6:17 pm
all we need look at is hurricane katrina and the flooding of new orleans and the police department of new orleans instead of going out and rescuing people who were standing without clean water, food or anything on their roofs surrounded by water, they were going around confiscating firearms. now, this is part of the same thinking that hitler was fostering. hitler didn't just pose as the leader who knew the way and the answer to everything. by the way, he was copying mussolini in that. mussolini -- [inaudible] mussolini is always right. [laughter] this was a type of thing that goebbels was spreading. hitler was posing as the protecter of germany, of the german people. and we could go on about that for many, many times, but other
6:18 pm
than bouncing back to the united states, you find that in the late 1930s there was a concerted attempt not only in congress, but among various different gun-owning groups to come up with a new gun-owning law for the united states. a national law to get rid of the patchworks of various different conflicting laws. and what happened to it? roosevelt's advisers told him it's easy: veto it and say you're tough on crime, and it worked. he got a lot of votes doing that. people said, oh, roosevelt will take care of us. he's our leader, he's tough on crime. [inaudible conversations] >> in the back there's -- >> right here. >> oh, i'm sorry. >> i mean, a comment on, you know, the mantra for those who want to control the government, is public safety. i wanted to ask you, you
6:19 pm
mentioned very early on that with very few exceptions nobody talks about the gun issues and the history of the third reich. can you tell us some of the exceptions? >> i'm sorry, i didn't understand. >> exceptions to history that actually do discuss, you know, the arms regulations of weimar and nazi -- >> oh, they're virtually nonexistent. i mean, you can -- rise and fall of the third reich by william shirer is that thick, and it doesn't mention it. i thought this was about the rise of the third reich. like i said, the only -- maybe a couple of books will have, you know, a footnote or something. and they'll repeat the article that i mentioned about helldorf decreeing the disarming of the jews, and that's it. there's nothing else. >> [inaudible] >> why -- no, there's never been any real discussion about this. and what i wanted to do in the book was to have a scholarly, historical discussion that would
6:20 pm
get into the facts and get outside of just the rhetoric. >> this is a real question, not a statement. [laughter] do you have a sequel planned called "gun control in america, 2014"? [laughter] >> i thought that was a question. [inaudible conversations] >> the question is, do you have a sequel planned to your book? again, titled "gun control in america, 2014"? >> um -- >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> i'm still trying to document what happened in the past, and i am doing a lot of work on gun control in occupied france during the period of 1940-'44. where they decreed -- they still wouldn't turn their darn guns in. that's an interesting historical lesson. you can make it a felony, a
6:21 pm
double felony, a triple felony to have guns or certain types of evil guns, and people don't turn 'em in. i can't understand why. they wouldn't even do it under the threat of death. [inaudible conversations] >> peter, let's just wait for a question. >> my question is a little different. it's a more practical consideration. i don't know how many people in this room have actually purchased a gun from a dealer, but there is an enormous amount of paperwork, and even if all of it were to be eliminated, one still has to fill out the warranty paperwork which provides for protection and being able to get the gun if there's a recall or whatever it is. how do you, how can we prevent the basic information we need to give a manufacturer from falling into government hands to achieve the result that this book is trying to prevent?
6:22 pm
>> well, one thing that -- i'm going to just add to what you said because there's no real answer to that. that's the way reality is. but california has been requiring all handguns to go through licensed dealers for transfer. and it used to be up until last year it was actually a crime for a government official to register long guns. and that was repealed as of, i think, january 1, 2014, in which case all private long gun transfers have to go through a license dealer, and it's reported to the california justice department. and so the records are there. you know, if you want your warranty, you might as well send it in, because they already know. [laughter] not to mention if you make a phone call to a gun shop or to the nra -- [laughter] they've got your number. >> a striking thing about the german laws is the way they focus on enemy groups, political opposition. in this country we usually think
6:23 pm
of our gun debates as just applying to everybody, but i guess historically there's a lot of originally gun control was targeted at blacks. and i'm wondering what you think of the targeting opportunities today when we have an irs now that is weapon niced to go after political -- weapon niced to go after political opponents? could they start auditing gun owners? >> i would be shocked, shocked that they would do that. [laughter] i knew you were going to mention the irs. [laughter] and, no, that could never happen here. [laughter] no. >> so one of the most, i can't think of a better word than idiotic, examples of an attempt at gun control in modern times was during the early days of the war in iraq.
6:24 pm
when the american executive this charge, i think his name was bremer, oversaw the disbanding of the iraqi army, knew that the police who were generally associated with the old regime had essentially disbanded themselves and run for it. so there was no effective authority. there was, of course, plenty of problems between the different religious communities. people were shooting each other. there was no police, there was no army, and bremer issued an order that all civilians had to turn in their weapons or at least their automatic weapons. the sense of reality or the lack of the sense of reality that some of the people who believe in gun control seem to espouse is quite remarkable.
6:25 pm
i thought that was certainly not one of america's findest moments. finest moments. i mean, especially given our own tradition of citizen militias, where did we get a guy like bremer there? it's a rhetorical question. >> right, yeah. why don't we take one more, and that probably should be about the end. anybody dying to get a question out? >> yeah, right here. >> in the front. [laughter] >> two questions. they're kind of related. which supreme court cases cited your work, and then if you could possibly cop travis the -- contrast the reis sense of your deny contrast the reception of your previous books that possibly led to those supreme court cites of your books and then with what's happening with the reception for this book.
6:26 pm
>> um, well, whether this book will ever be cited in a supreme court case remains to be seen. because it's more of a historical book, and you don't interpret the second amendment based on this. but one thing i will say that i -- it makes it relevant to me in terms of gun registration is, for example, the district of columbia has gun registration which is being litigated right now, and i'm kind of involved in that case. and there's been, there's historical reasons why politically american legislators, although they've passed a lot of laws in some cases involving records kept by ffls and what not, it's very rare for registration to be passed. hawaii's the only state nationwide that has total gun registration. we have degrees, lesser degrees of it in certain states, but most states don't have anything to do wit. with it. but one of my books, "that every
6:27 pm
man be armed," was cited by justice thomas in the concurring opinion in prince v. u.s., and my book "freedom and the 14th amendment and the right to bear arms" which was reprinted by securing civil rights was published -- can i mean, was cited in both the heller case and the mcdonald case. and then the founders' second amendment was also cited in the mcdonald case. >> and heller. >> it was not cited this heller. >> oh, i thought you said -- in it was not. >> okay. >> reception for this book -- [inaudible] >> oh, it's been -- you'll have to talk to david about sales figures, but i think it's done very well. and we've, it's been very well received, i think. and there's, was it the new yorker? "nation" magazine -- >> new republic. >> "new republic" published a very interesting account of an
6:28 pm
interview with me and the book, and it talks about the fact all these people together today talk about the nazis and the proposals of the nazis and this and that. which i totally disagree with, and i told him on the telephone interview. and so he mentions chapter one and nothing else because it mentions the dea bait in the -- debate in the u.s. hello, there's more to the book than that. you could throw chapter one out, and the book would still be the book out. speaking of chapter one, i'll close on this. one of the most interesting things that we found was in, let's see, january the 1st, a year ago, there was some kind of decades-long anniversary. i don't remember what it was now. but germany, part of the e.u. the e.u. decreed that all guns have to be registered, and germany proudly reported they
6:29 pm
were the first nation in the e.u. to require the registration of all legal guns. [laughter] so -- >> there we go. >> thank you, germany. [applause] >> i want to especially thank steve halbrook for joining with us and for his really path-breaking work with this new book. we hope all of you will get a copy, give copies to others. it's an amazing story. it's, it's one of these stories that resonate and stops people, i think, for good reasons. steve is available to autograph copies of this new book by his, by him and others that he's done. we also invite you to visit our web site,, and i want to thank you again for making tonight so successful. so i want to applaud everyone
6:30 pm
here. [applause] and we look forward to you joining with us next time. thank you, good night. [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. here's our prime time lineup for tonight. up next, jack devine recounts his career with the cia and operations outside the u.s. at 7:45, comedian-turned-major of reykjavik, iceland, john gnarr talking about his country's economic situation and efforts to stop the u.s. and nato from using reykjavik for their military purposes. then the weekly standard's dan yell halper discusses "clinton inc." on "after words." and at 10, beth


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on